Pontiak, White Hills, Rhyton, Eula


On a return trip from South by Southwest, the three brothers who make up Pontiak conceived of recording an expressionistic record. Something unlike anything they had tried before. They imagined it as a color project, painted through music, favoring the traditional form of the song to explore texture and color. The album was an ambitious undertaking and would require deconstructing and then rebuilding their studio in order to be able to record it the way they envisioned it.

The first step was to find a new mixing board. They found a Soundcraft 6000 24 track analog mixing board for sale on an exotic animal compound in Arkansas. To their surprise it was tucked away in a studio next to giant Moog synthesizers and had been used to record Herbie Hancock. Board in hand, they returned home and began rebuilding their studio to capture both the band's heavier sound and the melodic nuances they're becoming known for. They focused on the acoustic properties of the space, paying great attention to the subtlety of the room. After a detour to the Austin Psych Fest that involved tornadoes and chainsaws, recording began immediately.

Recorded at their farm studio in the heart of Virginia, Van, Lain, and Jennings rotated between their respective instruments and engineering duties. They treated the recording equipment as another instrument, placing just as much importance on the sound leaving the amps and drum skins as the sound written on the tape. If it wasn't as colorful and tangible throughout the entire songwriting process it was unacceptable. While previous Pontiak albums had been approached more loosely as snapshots of a specific time, focusing on the current songs, and their current energy, Echo Ono is different. It was conceived of as an album. Instead of recording hours and hours of songs and then fitting the best pieces together, careful attention was paid to the narrative of the album and the structure of the songs as well as how each directed that narrative. What was left to chance was what would happen when the band pushed these structures to the extreme in performance and volume. The band used several different amps to test these boundaries: a 1969 Fender Dual Showman Reverb, a 1973 Sunn Model-T, a 1969 Sunn 200s, a 1975 Fender Bassman 100, a Vox AC30, and for effect an Echoplex tape delay. Lain used two drum sets: a 1946 mahogany Slingerland Radio King set with a matching solid maple snare, and a 1967 maple Ludwig kit. No distortion or overdrive pedals were used. If an amp started to act unpredictably, they turned it up. If a speaker started rattling, they pushed it.

As the summer began to wind down and the album took shape, it became clear that they had realized their love of texture and color that loud music produces. Music so loud it produces physical vibrations in your chest. Echo Ono felt like a complete whole, as well as their most concise and direct album to date. It was like walking to the top of a hill in a field and watching the sky expand, a vision fully realized.

White Hills

A label like "space-rock" deserves music that's as nuanced and limitless-feeling as space, and space-rock deserves a band like White Hills. Not only do they add urgency to familiar psychedelic rock templates, but they pay just as close attention to the quiet moments as the raging ones-- each track on their self-titled Thrill Jockey debut displays a careful layering of sounds and atmospheres.-Pitchfork

White Hills have shaken up the space-rock box, and shown that the patterns you can make therein are as infinite as the stars.-The Quietus

If only it had more than two members — White Hills and fellow travellers Oneida — we could cite a Brooklyn space-rock movement, raising the 1970s sonic sublime. Nonetheless, here's an arch retooling of Hawkwind's speed-freak psychedelia, those relentless motorised grooves and fuzzy tsunamis of sound shaped and shifted and stretched to breaking point by sassy New Yorkers. Let the Right One In even dares 13 pastoral minutes in the vein of early Pink Floyd, while We Will Rise's pendulous emptiness echoes the Stooges' cavernous We Will Fall. White Hills dumb down determinedly to discover their inner ape, and nibble the fringes of greatness.-The London Sunday Times

Like wandering in a dense and druggy fog, White Hills' self-titled album is like a stoner rock beacon, hypnotically guiding the listener with layer upon layer of fuzz and reverb to some unknown destination.-AllMusic.com

A real contender for psych-rock single of the year, this 7" finds two of today's foremost acts in the field (White Hills and Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno) taking on classic Hawkwind material. 'Brainstorm' is ravaged by AMT, who thrash out in fine style with an expanded arsenal of swooping oscillators and spooky theremin-style pitchshifting. It's an absolute riot, but White Hills prove themselves to be more than a match, tearing 'Be Yourself' a new one (to coin a phrase) laying on the fuzz by the barrow-load, cutting through the fudge with some class-A shred and all-round soloing majesty. Oof...-Bookmat

Heads On Fire throws down grungy distorted layers of sludge that relentlessly churn along. It's neither subtle nor pretty, but god damn it rocks. They take the space rock template and inject it with a battered fucked-up New York punk spirit. -Drowned In Sound

White Hills is turning out to be quite the surprise of the year. After killing earlier in the year with Glitter Glamour Atrocity and releasing a comparable tour CD, the band has fired back again with the UK release of Heads on Fire. The latest release is just as much of a pummeling psych juggernaut as the rest; merging the Hawkwind style space jams with a tight groove of blistery guitars and trembling bass. The band are waving the Space Rock banner high and proud which has already garnered them support from legends in the field such as Julian Cope, for whom they've opened in the UK. The latest album, despite the relentless output this year shows no trace of being leftovers, but instead another album full of thick plumes of ash and turbulent waves of cosmic radiation. The band thrive in making the calm moments exceedingly liquid while still having a knack for fierce waves of noise ridden psych that leaves the space behind and burns like the earth's core. Given the band's current direction I fully expect to see great things from them in the future. -Raven Sings The Blues

'Heads on Fire' left me completely satiated, having taken me places I'd never expected to go. It's wonderful to discover a band who so wholeheartedly embrace the past without ever letting it constrain their vision for the future. I look forward to hearing more. -Nine Hertz

Their previous release,Glitter Glamour Atrocity, found the band experimenting around with a number of different styles from ambient to Krautrock to Spacemen 3 influenced rock, but on their latest outing, White Hills jettisons the experiments to totally consume themselves in balls to the wall, and yep, "heads on fire" total space rock. It's something like Hawkwind on steroids, with pounding drums and throbbing, catchy bass lines, whooshing space synths, barely heard mantra-like vocals, and of course, oodles and oodles of heavy, crushing, effects-laden guitars. -Aural Innovations

Space Rock fans should waste no time getting this album (HEADS ON FIRE). Farflung fans will LOVE this, as will anyone who digs the balls out space metallic jams of early Hawkwind. And solid production has helped White Hills create a MASSIVE sound that will knock you about like some cosmic sledgehammer. Highest recommendation -Roadburn


Rhyton is an experimental/improv/psych trio based in Brooklyn that features Dave Shuford (D. Charles Speer and the Helix, No Neck Blues Band), Jimy SeiTang (Psychic Ills) and Spencer Herbst (Messages, Matta Llama)

EULA is a 3-piece outfit found in Brooklyn, NY;
Nate is the pants, Alyse is the blouse, and Jeff is the cummerbund.
They taste like post-punk-pre-historic-medium-gauge-no-wave, with a splash of lemon.

"Totally classic art-school indie pop, takes me back to the salad days of DIY zines when music was fun." - Left Hip Magazine



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